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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Brighid Fronapfel-Sonderegger
Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Teaching Language to Children with Developmental Disabilities Using Combined Direct Reinforcement and Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing
Dr. Richard Malott, Chair
Dr. Stephanie Peterson
Dr. Ron Van Houten
Dr. Steven Ragotzy
Dr. Timothy Weil
Date: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
3713 Wood Hall
Several researchers have used stimulus-stimulus pairing (SSP) to increase the frequency of specific vocalizations in children with disabilities. However, only a few addressed the utility of SSP to increase functional language, and none combined SSP and direct reinforcement (DR). The present study combined SSP and DR to successfully teach two to ten functional mands in 49 seven-minute sessions or less with four children with developmental disabilities. Initially, the children did not demonstrate high levels of vocal imitation, did not emit mands or tacts, and spontaneously vocalized only 1 to 14 phonemes. Following mand training, two children continued into Study II and were successfully taught 10 tacts for pictures in a maximum of 38, 10-trial sessions. The children responding generalized outside of training sessions, in novel locations and with novel instructors.